wo Hong Kong police officers have been arrested after being caught on video “torturing” a 62-year-old man inside a hospital.
In a nearly nine-minute-long viral video, the victim is seen tied to his bed in the hospital’s psychiatric ward while the two uniformed officers take turns abusing him: slapping him around, beating him, bending back his wrist and fingers, and shining a flashlight into this eyes.
The officers even smother the man’s face with his own clothes after he lost control of his bladder, allegedly telling him to go ahead and “drink your own piss.” They also pull down his pants and underwear and start prodding him in the groin with a baton.
“This is what bad cops do,” the man says he was told by the officers.
The incident occurred at Hong Kong’s North District Hospital on June 25 at around 2:25 am, but only became public knowledge on Tuesday morning when Democratic Party legislator Lam Cheuk-ting released the footage at a press conference alongside the man’s two sons.
He had been arrested for assaulting a police officer while drunk earlier that night and was escorted to the hospital by police.
Lam said the officers’ abuse could be characterized as torture, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. There was also one other officer who entered the room briefly but did not respond to the victim’s cries for help.
At a press conference later on Tuesday, Chief Superintendent John Tse of the Police Public Relations Branch announced that two officers had been arrested and an investigation was underway.
Tse declared that accusations of police trying to cover up the incident were “completely false,” claiming that this was the first time that they were seeing the footage.
He explained that one of the victim’s sons had filed a complaint but that investigators had been unable to contact the victim and get a statement, and so had been unable to pursue the case further.
Tse added that police were unaware of the surveillance cameras inside the ward.
Hong Kong police have been in the spotlight this summer, facing criticism for how they have handled the anti-extradition protesters with numerous accusations of police brutality and excessive use of force, not to mention tear gas.
Last week, mainland netizens rallied around the city’s police force with the quote: “I support Hong Kong police, you can beat me now” being shared by millions.